Scotland business

Bus firm Alexander Dennis ponders bid for rivals Optare

Alexander Dennis Enviro-bus
Image caption Alexander Dennis wants information from Optare so it can consider whether to make an offer for the firm

Bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis could be set to gatecrash a deal that was due to hand control of rivals Optare to Indian-owned Ashok Leyland.

The Falkirk-based company has requested information from Optare so it can consider whether to make an offer.

Its interest comes a week after news that Ashok Leyland - part of the Hinduja Group - planned to increase its minority stake in Optare to 75.1%.

The Ashok move involves a £4m share placing.

The deal with Ashok, which Optare's chief executive Jim Sumner has said will secure the long-term future of the company, is conditional on the approval of shareholders at a meeting at the company's head office on 6 January.

Ashok, which has seven plants in India, one in the Czech Republic and one in the Middle East, acquired a 26% stake in Optare in July 2010.

Optare employs 500 people and recently opened a new facility at Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire.

Alexander Dennis (ADL) said: "ADL has written to the chairman of Optare and has requested information on the business of Optare in order to assess whether or not ADL might be prepared to consider making an offer for the entire issued share capital of Optare."

ADL added any offer it made would be in cash.

The bus firm has been given until 25 January by the UK Takeover Panel to declare its intentions regarding an offer for Optare.

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